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Like Pearls on my Tongue
by Maralee Gerke

Twilight seeps through a
canopy of cedar, fir, and pine.
Rain patters on trails wrapped
in mufflers of red and orange maple leaves.

Near the track, leaves of salal and
huckleberry shed a layer of summer dust.
Ruins of fern and skunk cabbage
collapse into slimy heaps.

I follow the sodden path
until it reaches earth-water and sky-water
foaming over mossy rocks and
coming to rest in pools dotted
with concentric circles of rain.

I tilt my head and newly mingled water
drips from the lacquered tips of fir needles
and falls like gleaming pearls
onto the roughness of my tongue.


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